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Peter's Rock in Mohammed's Flood, from St. Gregory the Great to St. Leo III   By: (1813-1903)

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Peter's Rock


Mohammed's Flood

From St. Gregory The Great to St. Leo III.

Being the Seventh Volume of

The Formation of Christendom


Thomas W. Allies, K.C.S.G.

London: Burns & Oats, Ld.

New York: Catholic Publication Society Co.



This work being from the beginning one in idea, I place here together the titles of the fifty six chapters composing it. For each of these was intended to be complete in itself, so far as its special subject reached; but each was likewise to form a distinct link in a chain. The Church of God comes before the thoughtful mind as the vast mass of a kingdom. Its greatest deeds are but parts of something immeasurably greater. The most striking evidence of its doctrines and of its works is cumulative. Those who do not wish to let it so come before them often confine their interest in very narrow bounds of time and space. Thus I have known one, who thought himself a bishop, accept Wycliffe as the answer of a child to his question, Who first preached the Gospel in England? And not only this. They also seize upon a particular incident, or person, and so invest with extraordinary importance facts which they suppose, and which so conceived are convenient for their purpose, but in historical truth are anything but undisputed. In this tone of mind, or shortness of vision, that which is gigantic becomes puny, that which is unending becomes transient. The sequel and coherence of nations, the mighty roll of the ages spoken of by St. Augustine, are lost sight of. Again, in English speaking countries alone more than two hundred sects call themselves Christian. Their enjoyment of perfect civil freedom and equality veils to them the horror of doctrinal anarchy, in virtue of which alone they exist. By this anarchy the very conception of unity as the corollary of truth is lost to the popular mind. But through the eight centuries of which I have treated, the loss of unity was the one conclusive test of falsehood, and the Christian Faith stood out to its possessors with the fixed solidity of a mountain range whose summit pierced the heaven.

It has been my purpose to exhibit the profound unity of the Christian Faith together with the infinite variety of its effects on individual character, on human society, on the action of nations towards each other, on universal as well as national legislation. Like the figure of the great Mother of God bearing her Divine Son in her arms, and so including the Incarnation and all its works, the Faith stands before us in history, "veste deaurata, circumdata varietate". And as the personal unity appears in the symbol of the Divine Love to man expressed in her Maternity, so it appears also in the figure of the Church through the ages in which that Divine Love executes His work. A divided creed means a marred gospel and an incredulous world.

I offer this work as a single stone, though costing the labour of thirty years, if perchance it may be accepted in the structure of that Cathedral of human thought and action wherein our Crucified God is the central figure, around which all has grown.

Be it allowed me to quote here words of the present Sovereign Pontiff addressed on the 18th August, 1883, to the Cardinals de Luca, Pitra, and Hergenröther:

"It is the voice of all history that God with the most careful providence directs the various and never ending movements of human affairs. Even against man's intention he makes them serve the advancement of His Church. History says further that the Roman Pontificate has ever escaped victorious from its contests and the violence employed against it, while its assaulters have failed in the hope which they cherished, and have wrought their own destruction... Continue reading book >>

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